The new technology now provides benefits to United Utilities’ seven million customers. Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Exeter Expert outlines global water engineering research success

New technology developed by University of Exeter academics to detect water leaks has helped more than seven million people, according to a water expert.

The success of the technology was outlined at the recent International Water Association (IWA) Water Loss 2016 international conference by Professor Zoran Kapelan, Academic Lead of the Water and Environment research group in the school of Engineering.

Professor Kapelan gave the keynote speech at the event, held in Bangalore, India, at the beginning of February. He described how technology developed at the University of Exeter was being used by United Utilities to detect water pipe bursts and leaks and equipment failures in an automated way and in near real-time by using big data type analytics.

This technology won an Exeter Impact Award in 2013, was shortlisted for the Water Industry Achievement Awards in 2014 and received the “Highly Commended” at the International Engineering Technology Innovation Awards in 2014.

The new technology now provides benefits to United Utilities’ seven million customers, saving the company millions of pounds each year. Its success has led to two further, four-year University of Exeter research projects with United Utilities which aim to develop new technologies for detecting and managing failures and unusual events at water treatment works and in wastewater networks.

Professor Zoran Kapelan said: “I am delighted that I was given the opportunity to deliver this keynote lecture and showcase research that is already delivering significant impact in the UK water industry. I am particularly delighted that I was given the opportunity to do this in India, a country that is proactively looking for new solutions to reduce substantial water losses from its highly stressed pipe networks due to unprecedented rate of urbanisation combined with climate change.”

The conference was organised by the IWA Water Loss Specialist Group and the Indian Water Works Association, with help from Indian Institute of Science and other local organisations. Distinguished guests, including government officials, attended the conference.

Date: 15 February 2016

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